Celtics

Joining the Red Sox is win-win for Melancon

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Joining the Red Sox is win-win for Melancon

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox haven't exactly been a dominant team of late. They missed the playoffs entirely in both 2010 and 2011 and haven't won a postseason game since 2008.

But when you compare them to the Houston Astros, it's no contest.

Mark Melancon, obtained in a deal between the Sox and Houston which sent Jed Lowrie to the Astros last winter, is happy to be back with a team capable of contending.

"It's a different atmosphere for sure, and I'm excited for it," said Melancon Thursday morning after reporting to camp. "Everything I've seen is top-notch."

Melancon was drafted by the Yankees and made his major-league debut for them before being dealt to the Astros. Now, he'll experience the rivalry from another perspective.

"I got a taste of a winning environment in New York and now I'm on the other side, which is just as exciting,'' said Melancon. "I'm so excited. I've been on the other side for so long. It's bickering back and forth and you hear the differences but you always have respect for your competition. Now I'm on the other side of the fence, which is the better side, so I'm looking forward to it.

"I have all respect for the Yankees. They're first class. It's very similar, actually, in how the Yanks and Sox go about things. Winning is a priority and that shows.''

Winning wasn't a reality in Houston in Melancon's two seasons with the Astros. After a somewhat respectable 76-86 season in 2010, the Astros dipped to 56-106 last season.

"When you lose over 100 games, it's struggle,'' he said. "It's not necessarily fun to lose like that. Everybody gave it 100 percent, but you show up to the ballpark and you've lost six in a row, it's tough."

Competing in the American League East is unlike any other division in the game.

"It's just more cutthroat,'' he said. "Everybody has a chance to win and I think the Northeast takes baseball a little more seriously all the way around and that just tends to brings everybody's excitement level up. I missed that 100 percent."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics streak comes to an end

0:41 - Tom Giles, Kayce Smith, and DJ Bean discuss the Celtics 16-game winning streak being snapped by the Miami Heat.

6:05 - Tom Curran and Mike Giardi talk about Tom Brady missing practice due to an Achilles injury and Randy Moss’ chances to make the Hall of Fame.

11:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins BST to discuss the mental and physical fatigue that the streak had on the Celtics and if there is a sense of relief that the streak is over.  

16:11 - With it being the 5th anniversary of the Butt Fumble, we compare it to other embarrassing sports moments in history. 

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

Little things prove costly for Celtics as streak comes to an end

When you reflect upon Boston’s 16-game winning streak which came to an end with Miami’s 104-98 win on Wednesday, there were moments in just about every game that played a major factor in their success.

So it was only fitting that in the Miami loss, it would be a whole lot of little things that ultimately brought the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history to a screeching halt.

  • Al Horford missed a pair of free throws.
  • Marcus Smart split a pair that had he made both, would have tied the game up in the fourth quarter.
  • Jayson Tatum had his only turnover of the game, in the fourth.
  • Terry Rozier had a rebound that he could not corral and bounced off his hands out of bounds.

And that doesn’t even factor in the missed open shots and unforced turnovers that collectively played a major role in Boston’s winning streak being a thing of the past now.

“I turned it over, we missed some free throws . . . we had some unfortunate things happen,” Tatum told reporters following the loss.

MORE:

Even with the loss, the Celtics (16-3) still boast the best record in the NBA.

Kyrie Irving has elevated his all-around play to a level to where he’s legitimately in the conversation as a league MVP candidate.

Jayson Tatum has established himself as one of the league’s top rookies from his draft class.

“As you could see, they kept hitting us, hitting us, until we were knocked out,” Irving said. “They deserved that win tonight.”

Disappointed with the loss, but it was not at all surprising to head coach Brad Stevens who has been raising concerns about his team’s attention to detail for the past few games and sensed it would catch up to them sooner or later.

“I told you, we’re not as good as the 16-game win streak,” Stevens said. “But we do have a lot of resolve. I can’t say enough about our guy’s will to come back. It’s incredible we were able to erase that lead that quickly and give ourselves a chance.”

Indeed, the Celtics rallied from a double-digit deficit to come within a single point in the fourth quarter. But unlike previous games, Boston couldn’t find a path to victory.

“We’re just going to continue to learn and continue to get better,” Irving said. “It’s the same things echoed when we were winning. Just continue to get better and understand, there’s still a lot for us to accomplish going forward.

He added, “It was a good streak, and it’s finally come to an end.”

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